As much as you don’t want to get caught up in how great Houston was in the first half of the game, it’s almost a disservice to not mention it- especially with how they lost.
At half time, Houston held a 62-48 lead over Minnesota, and if it weren’t for Andrew Wiggins banking a prayer at the buzzer, they would have been up 17. At one point, Houston had the lead all the way up to 19.
The Rockets held the Timberwolves to only 43-percent shooting from the field, while they put up 56-percent themselves. Houston shot 8-of-17 from the three-point line and 20-of-36 from the field.
I’m not sure how you would measure it, but James Harden had the most quiet 22 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds on 5-6 shooting that anyone has ever had through two quarters. Clint Capela was an unstoppable force with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
But that was the first half, and there was still 24 minutes left to play in the game.
There are a lot of stats to throw at you to tell you how bad the Rockets were in the second half- a lot. But there’s no point to telling you all of them. Here are the ones that you need to know: Houston allowed Minnesota to go on a 24-8 run in the first five-ish minutes of the second half. The Rockets didn’t make a shot in the fourth quarter until there was 6:45 left in the game. Houston shot 12-of-38 from the field, 3-22 from three. In the final 17 minutes of the game, Houston made five total shots. They were out-scored 55-29 in the second half.
Even though Houston shot only 40-percent from field for the half, the Wolves shot only 43.9-percent from the game. Houston’s defensive hold remained the same against Minny, the difference was that they couldn’t make a shot.
Capela and Harden did all the damage in the first half, and when others were needed step in the second half, they were nowhere to be found. P.J. Tucker, Chris Paul, and Eric Gordon combined for 18 points on 6-of-28 shooting. Harden (29 points, 8-17 FGA, 8 assists) went ice-cold and made only three more field goals in the second half. Capela (24 points, 8 rebounds) had only 8 points in the half, as well.
What all could possibly go wrong for Houston went wrong.
The good new is now the team gets two days of rest before they go to Utah and face the also disappointing 11-13 Jazz. The Rockets now fall to 11-12 on the season, 13th in the Western Conference standings.